Interviews

Published on September 13th, 2021 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Michael James On His New Album “Shelter In Place,” Working With Industry Legends, His Long Island Roots, Future Career Plans & More

Veteran behind-the-scenes hit maker Michael James has a diverse producer/mixer discography, ranging from rock (New Radicals, L7, Hole, Far, Kalimba, Jane’s Addiction) to singer-songwriter (Edwin McCain, Eric Church, Maia Sharp, Rob Laufer) to jazz/blues and prog-rock (Robben Ford, Chicago, GPS/Asia). He is a former Head of A&R and Producer at Warner Music Discovery. James’ most recent studio released was 2015’s critically-acclaimed instrumental guitar collection Marchesano.

Last month Alternator Records announced that “Come Back Lover” — the second single of off Michael James’ forthcoming album Shelter In Place — was being premiered through Vents Magazine. “Come Back Lover” is a tasty slice of Americana-influenced, singer/songwriter fare which tells the story of 2 lovers abruptly separated, trying to find their way back to each other. Michael and featured vocalist Aaron Durr were thinking about the sudden construction of the Berlin Wall when they wrote the song. “Come Back Lover” is reportedly the second episode of a 7-part music video miniseries. It is the follow-up single to “I Can’t Make You Love Me If You Don’t (I’m Drifting Alone),” which was powered by Hoobastank drummer Chris Hesse. Shelter In Place, with its long booklet full of liner notes, is by all intents and purposes a true studio album and not just a collection of songs, to say the least.

Discography and production credits aside, Michael James is the founder of IndieProMix, a remote service that provides bona fide professional mixes to independent recording artists, at sliding scale prices. He is also the mind behind The Platinum Legacy, a series of pro-bono seminars in which he and GRAMMY-winning producer Rob Chiarelli (Will Smith, Madonna, Erica Campbell) share their hit-making tips and tricks, and how to deploy them in today’s modern analog-digital “hybrid” studios. Furthermore, James has been a top tier sponsor of International Songwriting Competition and San Diego Indie Fest, beyond serving as a featured speaker at top-tier seminars, master classes and conventions (e.g. Musician’s Institute, Los Angeles College of Music, EAT’M Festival, Westlake Pro).

On September 13, 2021, I had the pleasure of speaking with Michael James himself via Zoom, as embedded below. Among the topics we discussed:
– New album Shelter In Place and its latest single “Come Back Lover”
– Learning to take direction from another producer for Shelter In Place
– Making a true album and not just a collection of unrelated songs
– Working with Gregg Alexander and the New Radical’s multi-platinum album
– Being part of the Jane’s Addiction film The Gift
– His early days as a Long Island, New York resident

For more information on Michael James, you can click here and here.


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal.Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."


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